An article in the New York Times today highlights the “new guard” of curators – a group of men and women in their 30s, who through a combination of talent and fortune, have found themselves in relatively major positions at some of the most prestigious museums in the country. Can you tell I’m envious? Certainly, I hope to be “curator” before I’m 40, but at the same time, I’m almost 30, and don’t feel at all prepared to take on such duties and responsibilities; more to the point, I don’t feel that anyone would be willing to take a chance on me, as it were, and entrust me with such a position.
In any case, these young curators are shaking things up, and bringing in new and exciting ideas.
According to other articles I read years ago, when he was a bit newer to the job, Hao Sheng, when he became curator of Chinese art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, brought a fresh perspective that allowed certain collectors and other figures, disenchanted with the museum for whatever reason, to be brought back into the fold. Collectors who had had a falling out with the previous curator (who I do not mean to disparage, as I am sure he did a marvelous job, and as I don’t know any of the details of these spats or disputes) for whatever reason, now have come back and donated or sold objects to the museum, and lent objects for exhibitions, something they would not have done before.
Sometimes I feel the news makes too much of new faces; as if there have never been new people in the industry before. As if the faces aren’t changing all the time, which they are. I don’t believe there is any particular shake-up going on right now, any more so than last year, or next year, five or ten years ago, or five or ten years from now. But that doesn’t mean that things aren’t exciting.
I look forward to the day that I can be a young curator, introducing my own ideas, and making my name in the art world.